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tv   Nightly Business Report  PBS  November 1, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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captioning sponsored by wpbt >> tom: good evening. i'm tom hudson. millions remain in the dark tonight, gasoline is running short in new jersey, and traveling around new york remains a nightmare. >> susie: i'm susie gharib. investors kick off november with a rally. stocks surge thanks to good news on jobs and consumer confidence. >> tom: and a new number two at ford motor company. mark fields will lead daily operations. >> susie: that and more tonight on nbr! >> tom: u.s. markets turned their attention back to the economy today; investors and traders liked what they heard. americans are feeling the most optimistic they have been in nearly five years about their finances and the outlook for the economy. the conference board's confidence index jumped to a reading of 72.2 last month. driving that gain, an improving job market. new claims for unemployment insurance fell by 9,000 in the
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past week to 363,000, showing ctur urct we'll have more on jobs in a moment. uras for stocks, the dow gained 136 points, the nasdaq was up 42, the s&p adding 15. >> susie: but economists say that encouraging report on jobless claims and the confidence survey were collected before hurricane sandy. meanwhile, the effects of the monster storm are paralyzing much of new jersey and new york city here's an update: four and a half million people are still without power, and it could take another ten days before power is restored. limited flights have resumed at all of the airports in the new york area. public schools are still closed in the city, as well as many schools in new jersey. and filling up on gas is the toughest problem of all. gas stations are running dry, and others do not have electricity to pump gas. motorists lined by the hundreds in new jersey, waiting and hoping for fuel.
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still ahead, we have more on sandy: flood insurance, the cost of getting power turned back on, and the challenge of getting around america's busiest city. >> tom: october marked a pick-up in private hiring. that's the word from payroll processing firm adp. it says u.s. private payrolls grew by 158,000 positions in october. that higher than expected number comes as adp overhauls how it calculates the number by including more companies in its survey. darren gersh reports. >> reporter: the economic signals out today point in the same direction-- an economy that has moved through a rough couple of months last spring has now found stability. >> slow growth need not be fragile, so we are in a moderate growth phase that appears to be quite durable. it's going to be hard to break out significantly in one direction or the other, unless we get a policy surprise or a policy mistake. >> reporter: the adp payroll snapshot is seen as a kind of preview for the government's official employment report, which comes out tomorrow.
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factoring in job losses in state and local government, adp projects the labor department will likely say the economy created roughly 130,000 jobs in october. barclays economist michael gapen expects the unemployment rate will hold steady tomorrow at 7.8%. and gapen expects the pattern of moderate job gains over the last year will be the pattern for the coming year, too. >> 150,000 to 160,000 jobs a month may not be a bang-out kind of number that gets everybody happy, but it's going to work. it will work in the sense of gradually reducing slack, gradually re-employing the unemployed, and pushing downward the unemployment rate. >> reporter: manufacturing was a soft spot in the adp report, showing a loss of 8,000 jobs. but it was no surprise, given the recent slowing in global sales. >> six out of the ten top markets that we have are seeing a contraction right now. and it is very tough for them to make inroads in terms of increasing exports to those nations. >> reporter: but housing looks relatively strong; autos and
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machinery, too, and that should boost manufacturing in the coming year. >> the big hiccup, of course, is what is going to happen with policy, what is going to happen with the economy next year, and if we aren't able to avert the fiscal cliff in a meaningful way, what is going to happen with the economy as far as are we going to have a recession in early 2013? >> reporter: which brings us back to the huge roll that federal policy now plays in the economy. after the election, lawmakers have a chance to boost the economy by reaching an agreement to extend expiring tax cuts and ease looming spending cuts; or they can jump off the so-called fiscal cliff and see if the economy follows. darren gersh, nbr, washington. re
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>> tom: retail sales moved higher in october as retailers closed their bookon closed their books on the month before sandy rushed ashore. macy's surprised with a better than expected 4% sales gains; kohl's and target also fared s ll. 5%, while nordstrom was the standout. the high-end retailer posting a near 10% sales gain. >> susie: and auto sales moved higher in october, despite hurricane sandy crimping sales in the final days of the month. sales at g.m. rose almost 5% on strength in its cadillac and buick brands. at ford, sales barely budged, up just four tenths of a percent. the auto maker believes the massive storm cost the industry as many as 25,000 sales in the last three days of the month. chrysler was up 10%, led by its ram pickup truck. toyota's sales were up 16%,
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while honda gained about half that. also from ford today, some management news that looks like a succession plan. mark fields was tapped to be chief operating officer, a move seen as steering him to eventually take the wheel from ford c.e.o. alan mulally. diane eastabrook reports. >> reporter: as chief operating officer, 51-year-old mark fields will run the day-to-day operations at ford, and will also be in charge of weekly business review meetings. 67-year-old alan mulally will remain c.e.o. through 2014, focusing on global products and the long-term strategy of the company. fields, a 23-year ford veteran, was handpicked by chairman bill ford seven years ago to run the company's north american operations. he's overseen successful product launches, and in the third quarter, helped ford tally 12% profit margins in north america. morningstar auto analyst david whiston says, at this point, the c.e.o. post is really fields to lose. >> the biggest thing is just to keep all the great positive
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momentum that they've had, turning ford into a more global, efficient auto maker, and away from this regional fiefdom-led auto maker they had been for so many decades. that will be fields' biggest challenge. >> reporter: other challenges for fields will be turning around the lincoln brand and european operations. and he emphasized today that this is not necessarily a done deal. he says he prefers to promote from within but he's keeping his options open and we consider an outside candidate. tom? >> tom: diane, so if he would consider an outside candidate who may be on that rumored short list? >> well, one of the names that popped newspaper the past is john kraftcheck who is the c.e.o. of hyundai motor america. he had, wod at ford several years ago in product development, there for 14 years. sow does know the company and that is one name that has kind of bubbled to the surface. >> tom: it's still more than a year before malaly is expected to leave ford so what is the company looking for in this audition period
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for the new number two? >> well, on a conference call today with analysts and reports bill ford didn't say anything about any kind of metrics that he is looking for. i think the company is pretty much looking for him to stay the course, keep things going on an even keel and if he can do that, the job will likely be his. >> tom: what about europe? how much weighs on europe? it continues to drag down global earnings for ford but also general motors. so what needs to be done there? >> you know, tom, europe is a problem for ford and general motors both. ford has done-- has taken some steps, closed a few plants. that should be completed through 2014, about the time when mall alley is going to step down. they are look to get their inventories in line. it is tough for everybody. so whether or not that will affect his chances of taking the c.e.o. job sort of remains to be seen. >> tom: one of the challenges is china, certainly for ford because it's well behind general motors there, in the third quarter ford's total asia
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revenue 2.6 billion. in general motors it did almost 8 billion in china alone. so what does fields and ford need 20 do in china in the years ahead? >> well, you're right. they do need to make some headway in china. and i think that may be part of the reason that mullally will stay on the next couple of years. in the conference call he said he's taking a look at the global picture. he is going to be work on ford's global strategy. sow may want to get china in line before he hands over the reins to someone else, prumentably mark fields. >> tom: finally, any impact yet for november auto sales when it comes to sandy and the northeast? >> well, it's talking-- a lot of their dealerships in those areas are impacted. chrysler said 100 of its dealerships are impacted. gm says half of the dealerships in new jersey are without power. some analysts who i talked to said they expect november sales to be down.
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who knows by how much. but they think actually some of those sales may be made up in december. and actually when you think about it, if there were people who weren't planning to buy a car but lost a car in the floods, they could end up making, having better sales than they had anticipated. >> sounds like a delayed sales as opsed to destroyed sales. it's dianesta broke tant in chicago s >> susie: tom, it was a good day for the markets today. on reporting tonight from the nasdaq that is closed above the $3-- 3,000 level,
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best performance in five weeks and downtown at the new york stock exchange heavy volume, most of the dow components in the green today so a much more positive mood in the markets. >> tom: much more positive, much more constructionive. technology which had been a laggard, nasdaq, certainly knows this where you are at tonight t was one of the leaders today with the broad-based rally. let's get everybody updated with our market focus today. a new month, and new buying today with a broad-based stock gains. buyers got out early, with the s&p 500 jumping from the opening bell on the back of optimism ahead of tomorrow's employment report. the gains held through the session with the index finishing up by 1%. trading volume today was 793 li lhami sonons bre the million shares on the big board; just under 1.9 billion on the nasdaq. the materials sector led the way higher, up 2%. the technology and industrials sectors came next, gaining 1.8% each today.
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u.s. steel was the top materials stock, building its rally thanks to a surprise profit in its latest quarter. shares jumped 5.7%, even though the company forecasts break-even resu it's expecting to see lower prices and lower shipments for some types of steel. two other material companies-- gold miners barrick gold and newmont. barrick fell 9.4%. quarterly results were disappoin cinasg ommodity prices were down and costs were newmont dropped 2.5% before announcing its results after the close. it expects to be at the low end of its outlook for the rest of the year. america's biggest publicly traded energy company, exxonu mobil, saw production fall to its lowest level in three years last quarter. still, earnings per share were stronger than anticipated, helped by profits doubling in its refining business. but production fell more than expected. the company explained part of
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the drop was due to moving drilling rigs from going after low price natural gas to higher margin oil. shares were up a fraction, rising a half a percent. volume was stronger than usual. the stock is up 20% in the past year. the biggest retailer was the biggest drag on the dow with the market trying to gauge sandy's impact on business at walmart. the stock fell 2.1%. 294 wal-mart facilities were closed at one point during hurricane sandy, thanks to mandatory evacuations, safety concerns, and power outages. after the close, the focus was on starbucks. consumers continue buying their coffee and lattes. earnings were 46 cents per share. that's a penny more than estimates. revenues and profit margins were up by double digits each. shares were up 1.6% during the regular session. they've been trending lower since an all-time high in april. but after releasing its earnings, shares jumped more than 7% from this closing price, rallying to $50 in extended hours trading. priceline was also moving in
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after-hours trading. shares closed up 2.2% at $586 per share, but jumped to as much as $642 after the closing bell. and here's why. the company had a much stronger than expected third quarter with earnings coming in well above estimates. also, its fourth quarter outlook tonight was stronger than expected. beleaguered smart phone maker research in motion saw some optimism today. more than 50 wireless carriers are testing its newest blackberry device. it's expected to be released in the first quarter of next year. shares jumped almost 10%. the testing is taken as a sign of confidence the blackberry is on pace to hit the market next year after several delays. four of the five most active traded exchange traded notes were higher by 1% or more each. with the market rallying, the volatility note fell 8%. rt usually moves in opposite ection of the broad market. and that's tonight's "market focus."di
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>> susie: most of the search and rescue mission after hurricane sandy is finished. fema said today it is now working on restoring power and helping people who lost their homes find places to stay. then, it will be time to assess the damage and start working through insurance claims. but as sylvia hall reports, it could be difficult for consumers to get paid. >> reporter: if you have flood insurance, it comes from a government fund called the federal flood insurance program that's backed by the treasury. most people who don't need it, don't buy it, making it hard for the program to pay for itself in the wake of a major disaster. so it's probably no surprise that back in 2005, hurricanes
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katrina and rita drained the fund and plunged the program $18 billion into debt. it's debt congress planned to forgive, but hasn't yet. that leaves the program on poor financial footing with only about $4 billion worth of funds available for claims related to sandy. >> from what i've seen, this could be a $5 billion to $10 billion flooding event, so more than likely, the program will have to go to congress to get additional borrowing authority. >> reporter: former program administrator david maurstad says the program will probably have to turn to congress for help paying claims. >> it's still an obligation that our government said we're going to have this program-- "you buy a policy, we're going to take care of it." and i have every confidence to believe that that will happen. there will be some mechanics that will be involved, possibly, depending on how large of an event this turns out to be. >> reporter: what could be a bigger problem are the number of people affected who don't have flood insurance. generally, fewer people in the northeast and mid-atlantic buy
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flood insurance than those in hurricane-battered areas like the gulf coast region. just last year, across the entire state of new jersey, only 230,000 households have bought flood protection, about 6.5% of homes in the state. in the state of new york, it's only 164,000, just 2% of the total homes. the numbers have increased since last year, but experts say the number of policies still aren't enough. >> you saw that the storm came way inland, and it hit in parts of pennsylvania and into ohio. we certainly have seen what that kind of devastation, what those heavy rains can do, and flooding certainly occurs as a result of these kinds of storms. so, yes, we expect that these people that were not mandated to have flood coverage will actually have flood damage. >> reporter: but even uninsured flood victims could get some help. they could be eligible for fema grants of up to $30,000. and individuals can also apply for some loans from the small business administration.
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sylvia hall, nbr, washington. >> tom: utility crews working 16-hour shifts continue making progress turning the power back on for millions of customers in the dark since monday night. about four and a half million customers remain without power, down from more than eight million. we heard today from new jersey utility public service enterprise group, warning it is "unable to estimate the possible loss related to hurricane sandy. however, such costs could be material." we spoke with lewis hay, executive chairman of next-era energy, the parent company of florida power and light. here's more of that conversation, beginning with the cost of the repair jobs for power companies in the northeast. >> well, this repair job is going to cost a huge amount of money. i don't think anybody can truly estimate what the cost is going to be. but it will be a lot of money. when we had hurricane wilma it cost us over a half a
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billion dollars. and this storm is much more extensive than-- expensive than that. the good news is the utilities have the balance sheets and the financial wherewithal to foot the bill. and you know, their vendors aren't going to be sending them bills for quite some time. so they will get the equipment. they will get everything they need because the vendors know they will get paid. >> could this wind up as a rate increase in the months or years ahead as they try to pay for some of the storm damage can. they go back to their rates in those states. >> typically in a storm of this sort utilities do go back to their rate commissions. and seek what we call cost recovery. every state does it a little bit differently. but typically if it's a prudently incurred cost to restore power, most utilities get cost recovery. nd that can-- ultimately it will be something that is
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end rate t could be a surcharge, it could be extra money put into what we call rate based that utilities are allowed to earn on and that would get amortized over a period every time. i don't see it being a big increase to customers' bills. but surely there will be a moddest increase. >> finally, lew, you have been in this industry a long time and dealt with storms similar to this. maybe not the magnitude. but overall how would you describe the state of the infrastructure in the power transmission industry? >> the infrastructure is actually very good. there's-- every once in a while we hear in the industry people say we're not investing in infrastructure. and i can assure you that both from my utility and all of the utilities across the united states that's not the case. this, in this year alone the electric investor owned electric utilities will be investing more than $94 billion in upgrading the infrastructure. to put it in perspective, for our company we will be investing over $7 billion.
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and that's more than three and a half times the amount of money we make in a year. so this is probably the biggest phase of investment in the electric utility industry's history. >> lewis, great insight. thank you for sharing it with the audience tonight. it's lewis hey, executive chairman add next era energy. >> susie: new york is also dealing with a massive transportation headache. most subways are still disabled, and new york's financial district is still without power. that means more cars on the roads in the nation's busiest city and grueling traffic. erika miller has the latest on getting around the big apple. >> reporter: just days after sandy walloped new york city, commuters finally heard the familiar rumble of the subway. service is still very limited, but there were few complaints. >> we did have to get off at 34th street. we were going to, like, 18th. it's not too, too terrible, but we have to walk. but it's a nice day out, so it's okay and i've been cooped up inside.
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>> i was supposed to be in lower manhattan today, near sort of battery park, bowling green for a couple of meetings. obviously, those have been postponed. but most people have been very flexible. they're sort of emailing me, i'm emailing them. >> reporter: there still isn't any service to most of manhattan south of 34th street because of power outages. and there are also few trains heading outside manhattan, including brooklyn. getting the transit system up and running isn't easy. there are 468 new york city subway stations and more than 600 miles of track to inspect. and before workers can test electrical systems, they must clean up debris and pump out all water. this is one of the subway stations that is open, but you can see things are hardly back to normal. there's almost no one on the platform. normally at this time, it would be bustling. but it was gridlock outside the city today. traffic was backed up for miles at some bridges and tunnels
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coming into manhattan, despite emergency rules requiring at least three people in a car to enter manhattan. hobbling together transportation is at best a hassle for many commuters, but there is some small consolation: all subway and bus fares have been suspended through friday, and power is expected to be restored to most of manhattan by saturday, making it easier to get those stations back on track. unfortunately, it's not likely to be more than few days before subway service is fully operational. the transit authority estimates it could take weeks before things finally get back to normal. erika miller, nbr, new york. >> tom: in neighborhoods around new york, the sound of chainsaws filled the air. jim munley had help clearing trees from his house in budd lake, new jersey. >> it started blowing real heavy after dark, and we lost our lights, like so many other people.
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we have a propane generator, so that kicked in, so that was a relief. but then about 11:00, it started blowing real hard. and between 11:00 and i'd said 12:30, the trees started coming down. but we were lucky-- it didn't hit the house. we had some limbs hit the house, but nothing structural. we have no phones, but like i said, we do have lights. we're running probably about 25 gallons a day. that's gallons not pounds. it uses up a lot of propane. i started with 200 and i've got probably 40 left. if you've been around in the woods any length of time, you know that you've got to have yourself prepared. we've got plenty of food. both cars are full of gas. so we're in pretty good shape. the house is in livable shape. a lot of people in worse shape than us. this is not an uncommon situation. but this destruction is uncommon. i've never seen this kind of destruction. those trees have been here a long time and they came down like matchsticks. we're going to hope for the best
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and just wait for the propane truck. >> susie: we got some help of our own today. we want to thank wnet here in new york for helping us. our new york bureau in lower manhattan has no power, and channel 13 has given us office space with computers, phones, and tvs so we can do our job covering the news. we also want to thank other colleagues who have come to the rescue, including the nasdaq, the new york stock exchange,, dow jones, and bloomberg. we appreciate everything you have been doing for us during these difficult days. thank you. have a great evening, everyone, and you too, tom. >> tom: good night, susie. we'll see you online at nbrcom, and back here tomorrow night. captioning sponsored by wpbt
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